And I'm saying these complaints only because I care for the series and hope they will get back on track.
Exactly why I also care.
Now, I know that it's fiction and as such it also doesn't need to follow certain laws of reality, but another big issue I am finding is what I call the 'escalation issue'.
Remember back to Horus Rising when Ignace Karkasy is looking across the city and watches the enormous Titan standing in the distance? I got this wonderful feeling of scale and power. This one giant could end whole armies. Also, with the heavy use of 'normal' people, it gave a wonderful contrast to the space marines and made them seem that much more impressive.
Now, skip forward to Vengeful Spirit and we have a clear example of the 'escalation issue'.
Slowly, through the series progression the battles have needed to out do the battles of the previous books right until the point where we no longer have a couple of Titans fighting, but we now have 20 or 30 fighting. These epic war machines which supposedly take decades to manufacture are being thrown around and destroyed in a single battle. In my mind they lose their stature when they are discarded in such a nonchalant way.
In some of the space battles we see multitudes of battlecruisers explode. These are ships which have crews in the tens of thousands and take generations (I would assume 50+ years) to construct.
And yet in the next novel the legions are back with another expendable fleet.
Horus had already culled a large number of his forces in Istvaan and then in Vengeful Spirit he's suffering enormous casualties. At the current rate of attrition, by the time they get to Terra, they'll have a single squad of 20 Legionaries trying to knock down the walls of the Imperial Palace.
I no longer feel connected or concerned about the battles won and lost by the legions when I know that in the next novel they will have magically acquired battleships, tanks, titans and soldiers from nowhere to easily replace their losses and throw back into the maelstrom.
I enjoyed Vengeful Spirit. It didn't end how I wanted it to and it wasn't the best book in the series, but it at least reminded us about the Sons of Horus. Damnation of Pythos was rather uninteresting for me, but that's mainly because I dislike the Iron Hands (who seem to get a lot of book time at the moment)
I personally loved the jokes about the White Scars, essentially acknowledging that GW has, in the past decades, given them next to zero back history or character. Admittedly it wasn't a fantastic book, but hell, there are not other White Scars novels to compare it to. I'd like to see more from them.
But no, they weren't at Istvaan or Calth, so we'll probably never hear from them again.
I'd just like to see them push the story forwards a little and address the issue of military attrition the Rebels must be facing. We hear a lot about the shattered Loyalist forces and how they're struggling to fight on effectively, but since we've seen numerous Rebel defeats, we've not even seen a hint that it may be affecting them. It would be nice to see them address the issue of dwindling manpower.
We've been getting a lot of compilations recently and while some of them are really fun (I'm looking at you Sevatar) others are utterly painful to get through. I forget the name of the short story, but it was about the Alpha Legion and was written in the style of a technical report. It mimicked the style of a really dull report so perfectly that it was too tedious to finish.
I know it's very easy to say, "Just don't read them", but I, like many of you, have become very invested in the characters and the story. It feels very much like they hit a hurdle in the story arch back in 2014 and they don't really know where to go next. So now they just put together lots of anthologies and the odd novel which doesn't really progress anything.
Look at 2013! Betrayer, Vulkan Lives, Scars, Unremembered Empire and the anthologies of Imperial Truth and Mark of Calth. I really enjoyed all of those books.
Now look at 2014. Vengeful Spirit and Damnation of Pythos being the only full novels. I've already given my opinion of those. Sedition's Gate, Legacies of Betrayal Death and Defiance...well, there were a few short stories I liked from each, but anthologies just don't compare with a nice meaty novel. It's like going to a restaurant and only being able to order canapés when all you really want is a nice big steak.
I hope they find some focus soon.